When I was in college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, my roommate and I fell in love with Indian food. We would save our money and walk the almost two miles down to the Indian Oven in the Haymarket and order it all- Mulligatawny Soup, Mango Lassis, garlic and cheese stuffed Naan, and of course Chicken Tikka Masala. I love the spicy, creamy tomato sauce and the huge chunks of marinated chicken- phenomenal. I carried my love affair of Chicken Tikka Masala all through two pregnancies, when I ate this dish for lunch almost every day. The recipe I used was from The Pioneer Woman– but I modified it quite a bit to make it more similar to the dish I loved so much in Lincoln. Here, I share my version of the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe with you.
Yield- 6 servings
For the tikka masala sauce:
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 TB garlic (fresh or packaged)
- 1 TB salt
- 3 TB garam masala spice
- 2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the chicken:
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 C plain yogurt (Greek yogurt tastes extra good!)
- kosher salt
For the rice:
For the chicken
Pat the breasts dry and sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. Generously coat both sides with yogurt. Place on a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet- I cover the baking sheet with foil to make clean up easier. These go in the oven, broiled on high, for about 10 minutes a side. I like them to be a little bit blackened. Set aside.
For the sauce
Place butter in a large sauté pan and melt over medium heat. Roughly chop the onion and garlic and add to the melted butter. I sauté this for 5 or so minutes until everything is soft and translucent. I add about a tablespoon of salt here too.
Add about 1 TB ginger (I use the Gorumet Gardens ginger, but of course fresh ginger is preferable) and the 3 TB of garam masala. I stir this a bit to blend the flavors. Next you will add the diced tomatoes and a good tablespoon of sugar. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. I add the red pepper flakes about halfway through the process.
Here is where my recipe deviates from the original- I love to have a creamy tikka masala, where the original recipe is a chunky. I add the sauce to the blender and puree. Return the sauce to the sauté pan and add the heavy cream, stirring until well mixed. Check for salt.
Roughly cut the chicken breasts and add to the mixture. Heat thoroughly.
This recipe is a great make ahead meal, as the flavors blend nicely in the refrigerator or freezer. I love to make a big batch on Sundays and eat it for lunch each day- especially substituting the white rice for spinach. Yum!
What is your favorite Indian food dish? Tell us in the comments below!
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